Final, Ole Miss 92, Alabama 89.
First of all, congrats to ole piss. They deserved to win the game, and despite the bizarre ending, the refs did not cost us this game.
We were in control and had the lead throughout most of the first half. We make the worst decisions at the end of each half in close games. We had the lead, and the ball and a chance to take the last shot in the first half. In those circumstances, you should never go into the half without the lead, but that's exactly what we did.
Once again, the start of the second half was a disaster. We turn the ball over on our first 2 possessions, and Ole Miss extended the lead and dominated much of the half. Once again, we resorted to chucking 3's nearly every possession. After a great defensive game against Arkansas, we were horrible on defense today. Ole Miss was able to establish their inside game, and they really took advantage of us in the paint when Hendrix was out of the game. This opened up their perimeter game, and I think they went 8-15 or so from downtown, most of which were uncontested shots.
The team never gave up, and made a terrific comeback in the last 2 minutes of the game. Suddenly Riley, Gee, Hollinger, and Hillman all started making shots, and we were able to force some turnovers. We trailed by 15 with around 2 minutes to go, but had cut the lead to 9 with 1:30. For some reason, we opted not to foul, and Ole Miss ran the clock down to 1 minute before scoring to make it an 11 point lead. I wish we would have fouled there, as it would be interesting to see how this would have turned out if we hadn't lost those 30 seconds.
Trailing by 3 with 7 seconds to go, Senario got a steal but immediately threw up a desperation shot to tie the game. He may have been fouled on the shot, but you cannot expect to get that call at that point in the game, especially on the road. We should have been more patient and tried to get a better look at the basket. Still, I thought Hillman played a good game, and I really liked his effort in those last few minutes. Anyway, Ole Piss gets the rebound, and Gee immediately fouled the guy. He grabbed him from behind, but the refs did not blow the whistle. He continuously tapped the guys arm trying to commit the foul, but it wasn't called. The clock operator obviously thought it was a foul, because he stopped the clock with 2.5 seconds left. A foul should have been called with 4 seconds left. After reviewing the monitor, the officials determined that the clock should not have stopped and the game was over. Technically, that was the right call on the review, because you cannot review whether or not a foul occured, only how much time should be left. By watching the replay, they were able to determine that none of the refs blew their whistles, and declared the game over.
Next time we are in that situation, I hope we punch the opposing player in the mouth. It will be an intentional foul and probably a suspension, but it might be worth it to get the message across to the SEC officials that by not calling obvious fouls when one team is clearly trying to foul to stop the clock, they are putting the players in danger. Just to be clear, I am not stating that the lack of a foul call on Gee cost us the game. Ole Piss would have had 2 free throws with 4 seconds left, only needing 1 to go up by 2 scores, and even if he missed them both, we would have had to go the length of the floor with no timeouts. This game was lost long before the final 5 seconds. Still, it's a shame we did not get to play it out.
Up next, we travel to red stick Wednesday night to take on Butch Pierre's Bayou Bengals. LSU has got some of their walking wounded back, and have played much better since giving Brady the boot. We are still looking for our first SEC road win of the year, and will have to win both of our remaining games to prevent having our worst SEC record in nearly 40 years.